Biofabs—foundries that produce biological components, devices, and systems—are springing up worldwide and facilitating the expanding bioeconomy. This growth is supported by public and private entities, and bio-optics techniques are playing a role in its development.
Photons absorbed by tissue can be converted to ultrasonic waves, which scatter far less and penetrate far deeper than light waves. Photoacoustic tomography (PAT), which leverages this capability to produce multicontrast images of living biostructures on multiple scales, has been explored for applications from dermatology to neurology and oncology. PAT's current implementations predict major impacts on biomedicine, although further technology developments are needed.
A bio-optics triple-threat—a combination of adaptive optics, optical coherence tomography, and confocal microscopy—allows imaging of the human eye with unprecedented detail. It promises to enable more accurate clinical analysis for detection of diseases such as macular degeneration and glaucoma, with the ultimate goal of reducing blindness.
Light-based techniques reveal biological entities from DNA to pathogens, enabling such advances as point-of-care flow cytometry, super-sensitive diagnostics, and real-time gene analysis.
Two recent studies funded by the NIH's National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) have used optogenetics to shed new light on the operation of reward circuits in the brain, and how depression is triggered.
State-of-the-art ultrasound technology can focus sound waves tightly enough to generate heat, enabling doctors to pulverize kidney stones and prostate tumors.
Researchers at Rice University have developed tunable plasmonic bubbles able to selectively destroy individual cells or inject them with substances such as drugs. The work hopes to someday replace multiple difficult processes now used to treat cancer, for example, with a single fast and simple procedure.
The ability to quantify exosomes—nanoparticles secreted by tumor cells—is important for the work of researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College studying cancer metastasis.
"Our study highlights the power of advanced DNA sequencing used in real time to directly influence infection control procedures," said Prof. Julian Parkhill of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (Hinxton, England). "This technology... could lead to a paradigm shift in how we manage infection control and practice."
Optical coherence tomography (OCT) and photoacoustic microscopy (PAM) are two highly useful modalities that produce microscopic, three-dimensional images noninvasively. And pairing the two provides even more comprehensive information about biological tissues.
A new method to eliminate image-degrading noise promises to boost the usefulness of optical coherence tomography (OCT)—and perhaps other modalities used for biomedical imaging.
Collaboration between chemists and vision scientists has resulted in the design of a light-sensitive molecule able to trigger response in cells of the retina and brain.
Neurodegeneration is difficult to accurately gauge, says Peter A. Calabresi, MD, a professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Baltimore, MD).
The EPIC Workshop on Biophotonics aimed to determine both opportunities and challenges for biophotonics business development for the next five years.
The American Society for Cell Biology's annual meeting had a lot to give to its some-7,000 attendees through its exhibition, symposia, and poster presentations. Among the holiday gifts were plenty of bio-optics and biophotonics innovations.
Avinger has received FDA clearance for an OCT system that lets surgeons see inside an artery in real time.
IBM scientists who developed excimer lasers for medical application—which launched Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) surgery among other applications—will receive the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 2013.
NKT Photonics project manager Lasse Leick has received the 2012 Pasteur Award for work on an IR supercontinuum laser that can illuminate what was previously invisible, with potential use in cancer research, disease detection, and food safety.
In even-numbered years, the António Champalimaud Vision Award is given for contributions to overall vision research.
A portable scanner based on near-infrared (NIR) diffuse optical imaging offers a new way not only to detect breast cancer, but also to monitor treatment response.
Perhaps seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a cause of depression typically seen in regions with long winter nights, doesn't just occur in people.
An international team of archaeologists, while investigating the ancient Relitto del Pozzino shipwreck off the coast of Tuscany in Italy, stumbled upon a tin container—hermetically sealed due to degradation—with well-preserved medicine tablets dating back to about 140–130 B.C.
In optical microscopes used in biomedical imaging, objectives are bio-optics workhorses.
Among conferences new this year at the Biomedical Optics Symposium (BiOS, to be held February 2–7, 2013, in San Francisco, CA) are one on optogenetics and hybrid-optical control of cells.